Mama Heating Pad in the Brooder (Picture Heavy) - UPDATE

just13nat

Chirping
May 31, 2016
77
18
51
Oklahoma
My Coop
My Coop
 Welcome to the Broody Brigade!  Amazing how they settle right down and go to sleep, isn't it?

Word of warning about the feather dusters....some folks are using them for chicks, but with MHP they aren't necessary.  The chicks have never known "feathers" anyway, so they wouldn't be missing anything if they didn't have it.  Some chicks have been caught up in the strands of the feather dusters, and I know of at least one who didn't make it when it got a strand wrapped around it's neck overnight. Granted, some chicks are just hatched looking for a way to die - I know, I had one! - and no matter what we do if it's gonna happen, it's gonna happen. It's up to you, of course....aside from a few very basics there is no totally right way to use MHP....

One word of advice...your set up looks like it has lots of folds and stuff in it.  Smooth is better rather than "fluffy", since chicks ain't the brightest crayons in the box and get themselves hung in a lot of froo-froo.

Most of us are past done with chicks for the year, so we need our "chick fix."  Consider your dues paid....although a few close-ups of the little stinkers might be fun.  ;)


Good to know about dusters, thanks! And yes, the set up was thrown together late last night so it's not exactly what I wanted. Today we're using my sons old prefolds (cloth diapers) instead of bulky pillow case. He was snoozing already last night, so I couldn't get in his closet to pull them out. This is the smaller heating pad, and the prefold will be perfect size to cover it. I'll have to post another pic when we get it finished today. Thanks! Here's the newest chickies, my husband only thought we were done brooding till I came home from feed store with more itty-bitties!
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just13nat

Chirping
May 31, 2016
77
18
51
Oklahoma
My Coop
My Coop
Yep....that's the one drawback, and you also have to remember to click that "Stay On" button again when you turn it back on.  But in a nicely covered cave, heat is retained for a surpisingly long time.  @henless
 found a Sunbeam heating pad that doesn't have automatic shutoff, and in the event power is lost it simply comes back on when the power is restored to the last setting it was on.  She's been very happy with its performance. She bought it and made sure that she reviewed it in the thread several months back. Thank goodness for folks who like to share stuff!  Here's a link to that pad, for anyone who might be interested:

http://www.sunbeam.com/pain-relief/...ology-blue/000771-810-000.html#sz=12&start=18

We had an unexpected spring blizzard when my third batch of MHP chicks was being brooded out in the run.  Winds were gusting to 60+ and the snow was literally coming down sideways. We went to bed about 11, and sometime during the night we lost power.  We have no idea how long it was off, but the sounds of it coming back on around 2 am were what woke up Ken.  He yelled, "The chicks!" and we got bundled and hurried out there.  The pad was obviously off and way cool, but because of all the insulating straw in, around, and on top of the cave they were still snug and did just great. The cave held enough residual heat for them.  Next morning they were running all over the place as usual. 


That's the model of heating pad we have. I also loved that as soon as I pulled out the insert, the first warning I read was DO NOT USE ON ANIMALS. Whoops!
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nikkers390

Crowing
14 Years
May 7, 2007
455
342
351
Ft. Myers FL (in the Boonies)
That's the model of heating pad we have. I also loved that as soon as I pulled out the insert, the first warning I read was DO NOT USE ON ANIMALS. Whoops!
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This is the same one I use. I get it off Amazon for less than $20 with free Prime Shipping. There is also a smaller size for about $15. Mine worked very well and last for a LONG time. I will never go back to heat lamps.
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FlyWheel

Crowing
5 Years
Mar 19, 2016
2,120
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My Coop
My Coop
Well so far the babies are doing great. I have a thermometer taped to the side of the bin with the bottom actually touching the pad, and it's telling me that at a setting of 3 the temperature of the pad itself is 95F. They are all resting comfortably under the MHP, two are completely inside, the other three half in half out, although one just by her head. So I am going to take this to mean they like it like that. I will, of course, change the setting when they change their preference.

I have a question though, eventually I know I should include a small roosting bar in their bin and I was thinking; since by that time they will probably prefer using it to sleep on, maybe I should place it so that it is at least partially above the MHP? That way they could still receive some of its heat?
 

nikkers390

Crowing
14 Years
May 7, 2007
455
342
351
Ft. Myers FL (in the Boonies)
In the old (and noisy) method of brooding chicks, your ambient temps would be between 80 and 85 in the brooder at the age your birds are now. So they clearly don't need the pad on during the day. But it can be on at night so they can snuggle up to it.


YEA!!!! I wonder about powdering the starter crumbles, they are already chick size. Hard to pick up "dust". I also wonder about the red light. Why? The reason heat lamps are red is so if there is any blood the chicks don't see it and peck (not something I've experienced but I've read it happens). But one of the many valuable parts of the MHP brooder is NATURAL day/night cycles because there is no need for the heat lamp.




Um, OK we can all dream
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But if she isn't white NOW, not sure why she would be white later. Eos was a white as the White Rocks other than the most faint apricot smudge on her head.



The Rocks are still pure white. OK, they aren't white, they are dirty. White sucks up a lot of dirt, especially when they are wet.
As far as powdery chick feed goes, I found that mine were very happy with regular chick starter that I moistened with water to make a crumbly, moist mash. I put it in plastic jar lids. They will pack it down but they waste a lot less feed because they can't scratch it out and it lasts longer and keeps them busy pecking it out. Another bonus is they consume less water since the food is already moist.
 

Beekissed

Free Ranging
13 Years
Feb 14, 2008
22,974
5,161
682
This world is not my home.
Well so far the babies are doing great. I have a thermometer taped to the side of the bin with the bottom actually touching the pad, and it's telling me that at a setting of 3 the temperature of the pad itself is 95F. They are all resting comfortably under the MHP, two are completely inside, the other three half in half out, although one just by her head. So I am going to take this to mean they like it like that. I will, of course, change the setting when they change their preference.

I have a question though, eventually I know I should include a small roosting bar in their bin and I was thinking; since by that time they will probably prefer using it to sleep on, maybe I should place it so that it is at least partially above the MHP? That way they could still receive some of its heat?

I wouldn't bother with a roosting bar at all....by the time they'd actually use it, that pad will be long gone and so will they. They will be out of the brooder by the time they need or want a roost. Oh, they will occasionally get up there or walk along it, just for fun, but they won't use it for night roosting unless you insist on training them to it and keep putting them on it each night and by then they won't be using the pad at all.
 

bruceha2000

Addict
9 Years
Apr 19, 2012
17,567
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NW Vermont
The red light is also supposed to have a calming effect on the chicks, so they don't bicker as much. I read that here somewhere, Also my lamp is plugged into a small appliance timer so it automatically turns on at 7AM and off at 7PM (or any other time I set). There isn't enough light in my garage to give them any real sort of day night cycle. And I have no electricity down in the coop/run area.

Quote:
Are they all white at the "fuzz-ball" stage? I don't think I have ever seen a snow white chick. But then, I've never raised a snow white chicken either! I've had ducks that were all white, but they were yellow as babies.
idunno.gif

Looking at the early pictures, you are right, the Rocks were pale yellow and Eos very nearly was. Rock in the front, Eos behind. This was their "2 day, 1 night" MHP brooder in the bedroom before they went under the broody hen in the brooder space in the coop. Not a peep out of them when it was dark.




Haven't noticed any need for "calming" chicks. Not the broody raised ones and I don't think anyone using the MHP have seen a need. Since they are in your garage without much natural light, I would be tempted to have a normal "daylight spectrum" light in there running on the timer instead of the red LED. I would have it turn on maybe a half hour after sunrise and off a half hour before sunset. That way it won't go immediately light and dark and they will have a more natural "sunrise/sunset" experience.

That's the model of heating pad we have. I also loved that as soon as I pulled out the insert, the first warning I read was DO NOT USE ON ANIMALS. Whoops!
1f602.png

You aren't using it on animals they are using it on themselves
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. I ASSUME the warning is because some idiot tied the pad to an animal which would have no ability to turn it off or get away from it if it were too hot.

I have a question though, eventually I know I should include a small roosting bar in their bin and I was thinking; since by that time they will probably prefer using it to sleep on, maybe I should place it so that it is at least partially above the MHP? That way they could still receive some of its heat?

What Bee said
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I made a little set of "bleachers" for my broody raised chicks last year. Put it in the brooder area since they were perching on other things out in the run. I don't know that they EVER used it. And I had put a little roost bar in the bathtub with the 2012 chicks (pre MHP days). Same thing. They would stand on it, but they never tried to sleep on it. Mostly I think they used it as a launching pad to get up on the edge of the tub. They figured out roosting when they went out to the coop at 4 weeks.
 

just13nat

Chirping
May 31, 2016
77
18
51
Oklahoma
My Coop
My Coop
Good to know about dusters, thanks! And yes, the set up was thrown together late last night so it's not exactly what I wanted. Today we're using my sons old prefolds (cloth diapers) instead of bulky pillow case. He was snoozing already last night, so I couldn't get in his closet to pull them out. This is the smaller heating pad, and the prefold will be perfect size to cover it. I'll have to post another pic when we get it finished today. Thanks! Here's the newest chickies, my husband only thought we were done brooding till I came home from feed store with more itty-bitties!
1f60a.png


400


Well, I re-did the set-up. Although I still haven't got a good picture of it. I wasn't happy with the cloth diaper covering heating pad, so I took a milk crate and made a cave. I kept the heating pad in the pillow case and secured pillow case with binder clips to the milk crate. I stuck a 2x4 scrap through the handles of the milk crate so it was at an angle and the chickies can push up against pad and took feather dusters out. They seem to love it, and it's still keeping them quiet at night! My husband, a fire fighter, is ecstatic that we no longer have to use a heat lamp. He did tell me to make sure that when I clipped on heating pad to make sure the clips aren't clipping on to the actual pad though, he said something about not constructing the heating elements inside the pad. It's warm enough here, I'll probably only have them inside for another week then move them on out once I figure out a good way to keep them cool in the hot temps.
 

MargaretYakoda

Songster
7 Years
Jan 28, 2013
609
172
201
Irondale, Wa
Thanks for this thread!
I'm experimenting along the same lines, but my investigation is focusing on how to brood chicks outside with no electricity at all. I have pretty good success so far with a wool hen. But I'm wondering now how to ditch even the first day's electric warmth. I'm considering designing something with the MHP style little cave, but with the wool hen's woollen strips hanging from the top, some styrofoam for structure and insulation, and a place at the top or the side for a rice bag that can be heated up in the microwave on in an oven.

I'm thinking the rice bag would need to be changed out a couple of times a day? Anyhow.... That will be my next experiment.


Editing to add the thread I started on brooding with no external heat: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...lamp-and-possibly-no-supplemental-heat-at-all

One thing of note: It is summer here in the pacific northwest. I haven't tried anything like this in temps below 45. I plan to... but haven't yet. Proceed at your own risk.
 
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